March 6, 2020
 
Dear St. Agnes Academy – St. Dominic School Community.
 
I know you are being inundated with information about the Coronavirus.  You are also hopefully focused on Spring Break for your family. I do ask that you take time to read this letter as it has specific St. Agnes Academy - St. Dominic School actions and responses related to this virus.    We continue to monitor CDC guidance and communicate with other schools about the best way to adapt to the COVID-19. This is not intended to alarm you but to talk frankly about this virus and our plans to minimize its effect on our community. 
 
Having said that, we fully expect the virus will make its way to Memphis.  As you know it is now in the Nashville area. We cannot prevent it spreading to Memphis nor likely to our community.  We can however take actions individually and collectively to minimize the effects of the virus on our fellow community members.  I am asking you to show your love for your fellow families by being vigilant and responsible. Our responsible actions would include:
 
Personal Hygiene
Coronaviruses spread from person to person in much the same way the flu and other respiratory viruses spread.  We ask that you help us keep our community safe by continuing to maintain healthy habits as we do during any cold and flu season. These are the same steps that we should be taking daily.  Steps you can take to prevent spread of flu and the common cold will also help prevent coronavirus:  
 
  • Wash hands often with soap and water 
  • If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick  
  • Stay home while you are sick 
  • Avoid close contact with others 
  • Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing 
 
Campus Precautions
We have instructed our cleaning company to conduct a detailed cleaning of our campus over Spring break.  We have also instituted our flu season daily cleaning procedures which include actions such as wiping down all door handles in the middle of the day, and wiping desks after each class. We are increasing the use of disinfectant at our lunch tables after each meal and modifying our lunch service to minimize the number of hands that could touch the food line.  We will also use ‘one-use’ prepackaged silverware for the foreseeable future. We are looking at other areas on campus to see if we can enhance our processes for those spaces as well. We will continue these modified activities for the foreseeable future.

Travel
We know many families will be traveling over the next week for Spring Break. We encourage you to follow the CDC guidelines on travel. As you are aware, information regarding the spread of COVID-19 is changing daily, so please continue to check the CDC website regularly. Many countries have enforced restrictions and quarantines that could directly affect you.  I encourage you to stay abreast of policies in the areas which you might be traveling. 
 
Self-Quarantine
Any faculty, staff, students or parents who are traveling to/from CDC Level 2 and Level 3 areas , must self-quarantine and not return to school until a 14 day period has elapsed following their return to the United States. They must also obtain medical clearance before returning to campus. Please contact your personal physician regarding specific instructions for self-quarantine. Should your student require quarantine post-travel, be assured we will work with you to provide remote learning.

We cannot begin to stress how important it is to keep your child home if they are sick. This is the way we show our care for each other.  In the event that your child is sick and might possibly miss multiple days from school, they will not be penalized for their absence. The Deans will be sending out detailed information on the updated absentee policy as it pertains to the different grade levels on our campus.  

Plans for Possible School Disruption
In the event campus must close, our team has been working to ensure learning will continue. Policies and plans are in development to continue virtual learning for all our students. These plans are dependent upon Internet access. If access to the Internet will be a problem for your family please advise your Dean. Also if you are the parents of younger children we recommend you think about how you will care for your children should we close the school physical plant. 
 
School Contacts for Reporting Illness or Exposure
Sandra Miller, School Nurse – smiller@saa-sds.org
Jenny Howell, Early Childhood Director – jhowell@saa-sds.org
Chris Burke, Dean, St. Dominic School – cburke@saa-sds.org
Kathy Boccia, Dean, St. Agnes Lower School – kboccia@saa-sds.org
Joy Maness, Dean, St. Agnes Upper School – jmaness@saa-sds.org
 
This is an evolving situation.  We are investing considerable time and resources to ensure that we keep our community as safe as possible while continuing learning with our students.  I am reminded of our thematic bible verse for this year from Isaiah 40 :31 “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”   Let us show our love for each other by acting in ways that serve the welfare of our community. We will continue to monitor and prepare for this virus.

The school has created a webpage that is intended to provide the SAA-SDS campus community with helpful information, resources and updates on COVID-19. We will update this page frequently as additional information becomes available. www.saa-sds.org/coronavirus

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or any member of the administration.

We wish you a restful and enjoyable Spring Break.
  
Peace,
Tom Hood
President